|Leading newspaper the Financial Times has reported that the United States Department Of Justice and the American horse racing industry could be headed for a legal fight regarding online betting.|
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed in October by the US Congress and prohibits the transfer of funds from financial institutions to an Internet gambling site with the exceptions of ‘fantasy’ sports, online lotteries and horse and harness racing.
The newspaper reported that an article on Twinspires.com, a website operated by the owners of the Kentucky Derby, offers a reassuring message about whether online gambling on horses is legal. Under the frequently asked questions (FAQ) section, Twinspires.com says it operates legally in the US and cites last year’s legislation.
'What Twinspires and several other websites fail to disclose is that the US Department Of Justice disagrees with this assessment,' the newspaper said.
Its report points out that, in a recent letter to a senior Democratic lawmaker seeking clarification about the status of online horse betting, the Department Of Justice said that its long-held view that online betting within the US on horses was illegal had not been affected by UIGEA.
The letter stated that UIGEA was targeted at foreign online gaming companies and explicitly stated it was not intended to resolve any existing disagreements over how to interpret Federal laws on online horse betting.
Some industry observers saw the exclusion of online horse betting as a way for Congress to protect the domestic gaming industry by keeping some rules intentionally ambiguous. The newspaper said that the Department Of Justice has not yet brought a prosecution against any horse race company offering online betting although it had revealed in testimony before Congress that it was investigating the activity.
'It reflects the private view among Washington insiders that the industry, which is dependent on the Internet for future growth, is too politically protected to be vulnerable to law enforcement,' the article concluded.